Breakdown of Making an Album: Part IIArticle by Jayson Brinkworth // July 03 2012
Hey, everyone. Hope you had a chance to read the last article on Laura Roddick’s song “I Forgot to Go” and download the tracks at http://www.jaysonbrinkworth.com/downloads/
This article delves into track two on the CD and is called “Iced Tea.” This song started as an idea to write a fun, groovy summertime kind of song as you will hear. I thought the drums should just simmer throughout the song with the approach of a drum loop for the groove. We also wanted everything to be nice and tight, so this really influenced the approach and gear choices.
When we were setting up the session and dialling up the tempo and click, I had an idea of finding a dry punchy kick sound to use for the click. The sound we used fit so well with the track that we decided to just use that as the bass drum track on the song. So the bass drum you hear is a sample and was never actually played on this track. Also as the approach was a pop sounding tune, the kick is playing 4 on the floor throughout.
For the snare sound, I used my 6x14 Yamaha mahogany snare and I inverted another snare head on top to give it an old school, Al Green sound. I tracked the snare over the click/kick part so we had complete separation of the kick and snare. This is very tricky, tracking each instrument separately, as our body is trained to do this all at once!
Next we tracked the hi-hat part on its own and I used my “secret weapon” hats. They are a Sabian B8 medium crash on the bottom and a 16” Sabian AA medium crash on top. They have a smooth, fluffy sort of sound that blends amazingly with any style I am playing. The hi-hat part was straight 1/8 notes with accents on the + of 2, the + of 3 and open on 4. You will hear that these accents follow the guitar and bass part. As the song progresses, the hi-hat plays 1/16 variations for added push in the groove. At one point we were thinking of adding Guiro to the track, but instead I approached the hi-hat part to simulate a guiro part, especially with the long open hat on 4.
We also overdubbed the tambourine part, and the cowbell was played by my daughter JaylaJ. I did the claps and I think we had 12 different tracks layered together to get the sound we wanted. The tambourine is on 2 and 4 in the verses and straight 1/8 in the chorus, adding to the energy and retro sound.
You will also notice there isn’t one crash cymbal in the song. Crash cymbals have their place for sure, but can be overused and can take away the detail in the other instruments. We paid a lot of attention to this as you will see in future articles in this series.
Also on this tune I had ideas for the bass part and a few small guitar things. Brad Prosko played the guitar tracks and Travis Reshaur played bass, and they were very patient with the drummer’s “ideas” for their instruments. Laura Roddick was on keys and vocals for this song as well.
Also watch in the arrangement, the cool guitar solo is five bars long (another whacky idea from the drummer).
For the end of the song, I actually dropped the tambourine while we were tracking and we kept it in as the claps faded out.
This is a really fun one to jam along to, as the groove can go many different ways. The tempo is 116 and is very comfy to play at and it should just make you smile with its sort of retro vibe.
Again, go and download the actual track with drums and the one with no drums: http://www.jaysonbrinkworth.com/downloads/
Feel free to leave comments or questions on my website, and record a video of your version of the song and submit it to The Black Page.
About the Author
Jayson Brinkworth is an accomplished drummer, percussionist, vocalist, educator and writer based out of Canada. He is co-owner of the Saskatchewan music school Music In The House, as well as the founder of both the Regina Drum Festival and The Stickman Drum Experience.
Jayson proudly endorses Yamaha drums, Sabian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, Evans heads, Impact cases, Kickport, Flix, Future Sonics and Mountain Rhythm. Visit Jayson online at www.jaysonbrinkworth.com.
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